Photo series shows off dogs’ personalities as interest in rehoming soars

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11 September 2020
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Animal photographer Liz Gregg, has inspired the team at All Dogs Matter to capture the characters of their canines. Here, she teaches you how to take perfectly focused pawtraits using a phone camera.

Image: Liz Gregg on the Sony Xperia 1 II.

From goofy grins to pondering pouts, dogs radiate personality through their facial expressions, and we love them for it. It’s no surprise that during lockdown, London based dog charity All Dogs Matter saw a significant increase in rehoming requests; as well as a 54% increase in visits to their website as more of us realise how beneficial companionship from a pet can be.

All Dogs Matter is a dog rescue and rehoming charity working in and around London to transform the lives of unwanted and abandoned dogs. Since lockdown they’ve seen a significant amount of interest in rehoming their dogs and are urging the public to consider donating to continue to support their work in rehoming dogs across the UK.  

“It’s great to see so much interest in adoption during the past few months, but as the world continues to open up, we want to make sure we don’t lose momentum and that we’re able to continue helping dogs in need. Every dog has such a unique personality and we’re following Liz’s top tips to make sure our new dogs’ headshots really bring this to life,” said Laura Hedges, Deputy Manager of All Dogs Matter. “With demand for our service high, alongside our funding being hit hard recently, we appreciate donations to help us continue our vital work”.

Animal photographer Liz Greggs provides the following top tips to budding doggy photographers:

  • Make sure photoshoots are always a good experience for your dog. Keep sessions short and well rewarded with either treats or play. Try using positive reinforcement, take it slowly and keep things fun.
     
  • If a dog is looking bored or unsure in a photo, take a break, have a play, maybe change location, and then try again. It may seem odd but making silly noises can sometimes help to make a dog look more perky and engaged. 
     
  • To try cartoon-like ‘treat catching’ photos, hold your phone in one hand, a treat in the other. Sit very close to your dog and snap the photo as you throw the treat, underhand and aimed straight to their mouth. If you throw the treat too high or far it’s likely your dog will jump out of the frame and you’ll just end up with a picture of a paw or a tail!
     
  • Use a camera with a fast shutter speed, so you have the control to get an in-focus photo of your dog no matter how fast and frenzied they are!
     
  • Look at the bigger picture. Rather than only seeing the subject that you’re photographing, look at what is in the background and foreground of the photo. Try and find a background that is interesting but not distracting.
     
  • Get creative and find pleasing frames to shoot through. An example may be wild flowers in the foreground, which work well to frame your dog.  Getting a little more creative, I sometimes even lie on the floor and photograph my small dog framed by the legs and belly of my larger dog. Finding different ways to compose and frame a photo can be really fun and can give a different perspective.
     
  • Be spontaneous. The beauty of shooting using a phone like the Xperia 1 II is that you can capture shots anywhere, and sometimes the best images are taken at unexpected times.
     
  • Rope in a friend. Especially when you’re photographing more than one dog it can be really useful to ask a friend for help. I often take pictures for @blackwhite.gold with Dolly’s owner Danielle getting the girls into position and then maintaining their interest with treats or balls.